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About 90 percent of the 350,000 cardiac arrests that occur annually happen outside of a hospital, often resulting in death, according to the American Heart Association. That’s why bystanders trained in CPR can make a life-or-death difference and triple a person’s chances of survival.

However, in Austin, the bystander CPR rate—the rate at which CPR is performed by a lay person, family member, or lay person medical provider—is 32.9 percent, well below the national rate of 46 percent. This means less than 33 percent of the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) victims had CPR initiated before emergency help arrived.

“When someone experiences cardiac arrest, especially outside of the hospital, every second counts,” Dr. Vivek Goswami, clinical cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin, said. “Fortunately, if a bystander performs CPR, that person has a much greater chance of survival. It’s imperative that everyone knows how to administer bystander CPR.”

Data from the American Heart Association reveals nearly 45 percent of OHCA victims survived when bystander CPR was administered. However, many bystanders fail to administer CPR for fear of causing injury—or due to hesitation with administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. To increase bystander participation, the Austin and Travis County health department developed the TAKE10 CPR program, which teaches residents how to perform compression-only CPR in 10 minutes or less. The more people who are trained to act during a cardiac event, the fewer deaths are likely to occur.

To learn more about the TAKE10 program, visit AustinTexas.gov/TAKE10.

KVUE recently interviewed Dr. Goswami about the importance of bystander CPR.

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